"Resurrection" or "Re-Creation of The Soul"? What do really JW's teach?

by EdenOne 20 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • EdenOne

    Interesting find through a book "Inside Story Of Jehovah's Witnesses" (1967) by W.C. Stevenson, supposedly a former JW Circuit Overseer. It's an interesting "apostate" perspective written prior to the WTS 1975 debacle.

    Anyway, at a certain point, there's a quote from a book called "The Four Cults", by Professor Anthony A. Hoekema (1963, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company), a calvinist, which makes some sharp remarks about the way Jehovah's Witnesses teach the dead coming back to life:

    1) In the case of those "resurrecting" for everlasting life on earth, one asks: if the soul is extinct at death, and the body disintegrates and its components are integrated into other forms of life, what is there to "resurrect"? Really, nothing. In this scenario, we are talking about a re-creation of the soul. This is not how the ancient christian jews understood "resurrection". The whole thing of "their personality and memories are in God's memory, and they will be transplanted into a new body" isn't scriptural, it's nowhere in the canonical texts.

    2) In the case of those "resurrecting" to a spiritual life without a physical body, this is not a true "resurrection" either, because they are not raised again as human beings (as Jesus was) but rather, they are superhuman, divine, angelic-like immortal spiritual beings. Therefore, it's a new being, not a re-enactment of the human being, which is the basic sense of the term "resurrection". He observed:

    In the history of the Christian church, people who taught that the "resurrection" was a nonphysical one were branded as heretics. The early fathers vigorously defended the resurrection of the body (in a physical sense) as a distinctively christian doctrine, over against those who, under the influence of Greek philosophy or Gnostic speculation, denied this teaching"

    Although not a believer anymore, this is a perspective that had never occurred me. How do you comment this?

  • Bobcat

    It could be pointed out that every person, while still alive, is continuously losing cells and manufacturing new ones, so that, over the course of several years, a person does not have the exact same physical body. Yet, they are still the same person, except for the fact that they have accumulated new experiences, etc.

    One could argue that an individual alive now is not exactly the same individual that existed 5 or 10 years ago due to life experiences and gained knowledge, and so on.

    On a different note, if one sees a person, as they exist right this moment, as a multitude of atoms with particular 'settings' unique to that individual, then, the theory of quantum entanglement would allow re-creating that individual from a different clump of entangled atoms that had their 'settings' (as it were) set to exactly how that individual was. This is the idea behind Star Trek's transporter. It is understood to be theoretically possible. Humans just don't have the ability to pull it off yet. Physicist Brian Greene discusses this in one of his PBS Nova programs.

  • JoenB75

    I think William Barclay expresses the proper biblical view, at least the one expressed in 1 Corinthians 15. It is actually quite close to the JW view although they can not use 1 Corinthians 15 for those not of the "144.000":

    "For the Greek immortality lay precisely in getting rid of the body. For him the resurrection of the body was unthinkable. Personal immortality did not really exist because that which gave men life was absorbed again in God the source of all life.

    (iv) Paul's view was quite different. If we begin with one immense fact, the rest will become clear. The Christian belief is that after death individuality will survive, that you will still be you and I will still be I. Beside that we have to set another immense fact. To the Greek the body could not be consecrated. It was matter, the source of all evil, the prison-house of the soul. But to the Christian the body is not evil. Jesus, the Son of God, has taken this human body upon him and therefore it is not contemptible because it has been inhabited by God. To the Christian, therefore the life to come involves the total man, body and soul.

    Now it is easy to misinterpret and to caricature the doctrine of the resurrection of the body. Celsus, who lived about A.D. 220, a bitter opponent of Christianity, did this very thing long ago. How can those who have died rise with their identical bodies? he demands. "Really it is the hope of worms! For what soul of a man would any longer wish for a body that had rotted?" It is easy to cite the case of a person smashed up in an accident or dying of cancer.

    But Paul never said that we would rise with the body with which we died. He insisted that we would have a spiritual body. What he really meant was that a man's personality would survive. It is almost impossible to conceive of personality without a body, because it is through the body that the personality expresses itself. What Paul is contending for is that after death the individual remains. He did not inherit the Greek contempt of the body but believed in the resurrection of the whole man. He will still be himself; he will survive as a person. That is what Paul means by the resurrection of the body. Everything of the body and of the soul that is necessary to make a man a person will survive, but, at the same time, all things will be new, and body and spirit will alike be very different from earthly things, for they will alike be divine.


  • Disillusioned JW
    Disillusioned JW

    The WT and the JWs teach re-creation of the body (with Jehovah God instilling into the new body a copy of the mind of the person who had died). The WT even explicitly says so in at least one of their books.

  • Phizzy

    " The WT and the JWs teach re-creation of the body (with Jehovah God instilling into the new body a copy of the mind of the person who had died). The WT even explicitly says so in at least one of their books."

    True, but what they are describing is not the resurrection of the person, they are describing the creation of a Clone with an implanted false memory. A Doppelganger, not the real "you".

    Not a comforting thought at all that, because the real "you" is still dead.

    Of course all the difficulties of thinking about this fade away to nothing when you acknowledge that there is no Afterlife, and no god.

  • Disillusioned JW
    Disillusioned JW

    Phizzy, I thought my post made clear that I agree that the WT was describing not the resurrection of the person, but rather the creation of a copy/clone, including an implanted copy of the memory of the person. But here is something interesting: a number of science fiction stories of the "Outer Limits" TV show have the same idea, but with a human scientist making the recreation instead of God. In the stories there is sometimes a happy ending, providing nothing goes wrong in the replication process (and one tries to kill the recreated person). In the stories with the happy endings the ones who are near death are hopeful of being recreated-resurrected. After they are recreated they are happy about being recreated and think of themselves as being resurrected. Usually the recreation is in a robotic body, but sometimes it is in a human body. The endings tend to be happy when it is in an human body, and when a android gets recreated as an android. Maybe the Sci-Fi writers of these stories got the idea from the WT doctrine of resurrection.

    Bobcat makes a good point that the body we currently have is a copy (but with modifications) of the body we had several years ago, and the WT mentions essentially that in their literature. I wish I could remember which specific book where the WT says such very explicitly. He is also right about what he said of a PBS Nova episode; I know that because I saw the same episode and that segment of the episode about the transporter stuck in my mind. However that episode also dealt with the philosophical issue of whether the copy was or wasn't the same person as the original. Philosophers are not in agreement in this matter.

    We experience an ongoing process of cellular death and recreation/copying. We are thus already a clone of a prior version of our self. In as sense, we have already been recreated/resurrected! Maybe the key part of us which we identify the most with is the data of our mind and software program of our mind, along with the characteristics of our fleshy body. Maybe some of us can be satisfied with the idea that our data and mental program will be preserved and later implanted into a body which has a very close resemblance to our current body, with the newer body becoming youthful and perfect over time. Many of us, if a part of our body fails are willing to receive an organ transplant from another body (one of a different person) to replace failed body part. Once it is inside their body, they likely consider it a part of themselves. The hair I have on my head is not the same hair I had several months ago; is a copy of the hair I formerly had (though in many cases grown from the 'same' hair root (or skin cluster?). The outermost skin cells I have are not the ones I had months ago, for my prior ones have been sloughed off and are now dead and decayed. When my body gets wounded, including severely wounded, I very much appreciate it when it heals. The healed portion I consider to be a part of me, even though it is only a copy of that which had become damaged.

    If I could believe in such a re-creation/resurrection (in sense of the data/characteristics of myself being preserved and used to make a copy of my whole being) I might could be satisfied with it since I would know that my knowledge and talents and personality would be preserved and that together they would have the opportunity to try to accomplish that which I will not have accomplished prior to my death.

    I don't think the term Doppelganger is appropriate for the WT concept of resurrection due to two reasons. My impression is the same as that stated in the following quotes from Wikipedia. 1) "In fiction a fiction and mythology, a doppelgänger is often portrayed as a ghostly or paranormal phenomenon and usually seen as a harbinger of bad luck. Other traditions and stories equate a doppelgänger with an evil twin." The WT resurrection does not have any of those characteristics. 2) "A doppelgänger is a biologically unrelated look-alike, or a double, of a living person. [See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doppelg%C3%A4nger .] If by "living person" one means the person who was copied would still exist during the same time (or part of the time) the copy exists, then that is different from the WT idea. In the WT the one who dies no longer exists as a person at the same the copy exists. Instead the surviving remains of the dead person is likely used as some of the materials in the construction of the copy; with the rest of the material having already become part of something else (such as having been incorporated into the body of an organism which ate it). One won't see the dead person's body lying around at the same time one sees a living copy of the pre-dead person.

  • Phizzy

    Hi DJW,

    yes you did make it clear to me that the WT version of resurrection was talking about what is essentially a clone. I was just underlining that thought for JW's who may never have considered it before.

    Your observation tha the WT teaches the following concept is true too of course, " Maybe some of us can be satisfied with the idea that our data and mental program will be preserved and later implanted into a body which has a very close resemblance to our current body, with the newer body becoming youthful and perfect over time." I was one who was satisfied with that as a JW.

    The problem with it is that if that is the case, it means that the "Soul" of the person, their memory/personality, does not die. Yet O.T Scripture says it does !

    What the JW's teach and believe is essentially the concept of " Soul Sleep", which means that the Soul is Immortal, ( at least in some sense of the word), a Doctrine they have railed against for years, since the time of Russell if memory serves.

    Another example of JW muddled, illogical Theology, in conflict with Scripture.

  • Sea Breeze
    Sea Breeze

    Romans 10: 9

    if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

    The Watchtower version of Christ rising, is NOT a resurrection. According to scripture his same body (although a glorified more powerful version) was restored to life.

    Luke 24: 39 - Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself

    JW's deny the bodily resurrection which is a foundational Christian doctrine. The first scripture above leaves some question whether or not a person who denies the bodily resurrection can be saved. That is why the WT twists this belief.... just to make double sure no one gets saved from the KH.

  • TD

    The idea of an identical body and the implantation of your memories and personality into it is very much like the movie, The 6th Day where the human copy (Clone with implanted memories) truly, honestly, believes he's the original and is devastated to find out he's not.

    That the JW teaching is much closer to modern science fiction than anything you can actually find in the Bible should tell you something...

  • Disillusioned JW
    Disillusioned JW
    Sea Breeze, I notice you wrote that the WT wants "... to make double sure no one gets saved from the KH." Those words you wrote are astonishing to me. Do you really believe that? I know the WT has numerous incorrect teachings, that is deceptive, and that it has told some intentional lies, but do you really believe it is trying to prevent people from obtaining salvation (with it at the same time also believing there is a way for more than 144,000 people to obtain salvation)?

    Do you think that the Bible verse of Matthew 23:13 can correctly be applied to them? The verse in the NKJV says ' “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.' The wording of the verse in the Amplified Bbile is ' “But woe (judgment is coming) to you, [self-righteous] scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven in front of people; for you do not enter yourselves, nor do you allow those who are [in the process of] entering to do so.'

    Do you consciously think the WT's leaders and/or its writers consciously worship Satan the Devil and are trying to do his bidding? Please tell me. I can see how some might get that idea due to the following: Russell having formerly been a skeptic (perhaps you believe he also secretly such while he was a part of the WT organization), Rutherford claiming he formerly had been an atheist (perhaps you believe he was also secretly an atheist while he was a part of the WT organization), the WT's former use of Greber's NT, their recommendation of the book Angels and Women, their teaching that the people of Christendom's churches are unwittingly worshiping Satan the Devil, and their teaching that the human leaders of all the human governments are unwittingly under the control of Satan the Devil.

    Rutherford wrote that Satan created false forms of Christian worship in order to get people to unwittingly worship Satan and to prevent people from worshiping Jehovah and from obtaining salvation. Do you think that Rutherford was secretly doing that, that which he claimed that others instead were doing?

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